Napa County declines Fire Boss planes for the 2021 wildfire season

    After hearing from Cal Fire, Napa County will forego an offer from a private group to base two water-dropping Fire Boss planes here this fire season for early wildfire response.

    Growers/Vintners for Responsible Agriculture offered to pay $1.5 million to lease the planes and crew from Dauntless Air. But in the face of Cal Fire opposition, the Napa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday rejected the offer for now.

    “This is an awkward spot for us, because we have people offering an incredibly generous offer, but we don’t personally do the firefighting and our firefighters are saying, ‘Not so fast,’” county Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht said.

    The county contracts with Cal Fire to operate the Napa County Fire Department. Cal Fire officials said their own water-dropping helicopters hold more water than the single-engine Fire Boss scooper planes and can refill from smaller reservoirs. The two Fire Boss planes might slow and complicate the helicopter response, Cal Fire said.

    Earlier this month, supervisors learned that the agency will base a water-dropping helicopter in Napa County this year, though the helicopter could leave the county on mutual aid missions, Cal Fire officials said.
    Read more on this story at the Napa Valley Register
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